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Pixel Perfect. Enhanced Optimizations Focused on Customer Experience

I remember the days when brands captivated users online with dancing aliens (LowerMyBills.com) and Elf Yourself advertising campaigns (OfficeMax). In this new digital era, however, customers are smarter, more powerful, and dictate more than ever how and when they interact with brands. More important than price or product, customer-centric business models are the new competitive differentiator. Positive customer experiences are not only critical for corporate branding but can significantly impact the bottom line. Macro trends around social media, mobile, cloud, and AI have all created new forms of digital engagement that are highly disruptive; but one key factor to delivering exceptional customer experiences is ensuring consistency and speed across all user touchpoints. 

Image optimization and delivery across a diversity of devices, browsers, and operating systems can be incredibly difficult in light of emerging technologies and new forms of digital engagement. To complicate matters, popular forms of visual content - like animated GIFs and short videos - have reached new heights. In 2018, Google acquired Tenor (with 300 million monthly active users and over 12 billion searches every month) because it saw "millions of searches for GIFs every day." We've all seen viral videos instantly converted to animated GIFs to be shared, posted, and viewed by millions. It's inevitable. Organizations need to adapt quickly with market trends to meet rising customer expectations.

Enter Image Manager. Our latest enhancements are centered on raising the 'customer experience ' bar to improve your experience with Image Manager and your customers' experience with your brand. The October Release highlights four very cool enhancements which are described below:

  1. Animated GIF Optimization

  2. Network-Aware Intelligence

  3. Query-based Language (IMQuery)

  4. Image Manager UI Improvements

Animated GIF Optimization

Animated GIFs have not only grown in popularity, they have also grown in size. Animated GIFs can get rather large depending on the animation, frames, and colors in the image. This can be challenging because large files can slow down web performance and result in user frustration. Image Manager can now intelligently optimize and compress animated GIFs to automatically create all necessary derivative versions while maximizing byte savings. IM will even convert animated GIFs to animated WebP for Chrome for the best format conversion. 

Network-Aware Intelligence

Through Akamai's delivery platform, Image Manager has deep visibility into end user conditions - including device, operating system, browser, viewport, and bandwidth, among others. IM is now able to automatically optimize and deliver image and video derivatives based on dynamic network conditions for high-latency cellular and terrestrial networks. This enhancement will prevent over-downloading and ensure intelligent network-aware optimizations that produce the best user experience from wherever your customers access content.

IMQuery

Developers need flexibility and control to meet both technical and business requirements; and this new policy allows them to do just that. The new Image Manager Query-based Language (IMQuery) allows developers to apply one, all, or any combination of artistic image transformations from a single query string parameter. And with this policy, administrators can choose to limit which Image Manager transformations are exposed or available. In short, IMQuery allows you to convert your favorite IM Policy into query language (and vice versa!).

Image Manager UI Improvements

The Image Manager UI is intended to be used by both technical and business users - including visual design, creative, and marketing teams. Therefore, it was important to redesign the UI with a careful balance between technical functionality and usability. An intuitive and user-friendly UI with in-context help, a larger preview panel, and easy-to-use workflow makes it easier to build policies and utilize more artistic transformations, straight out-of-the-box. Moreover, the Image Manager Dashboard now includes video optimization data with seconds transmitted, byte savings, video errors, content delivered, video popularity, device breakdown, and play trends, among other metrics. This insight helps users make data-driven decisions around their video strategy.

Customer experience is king. Brands must deliver great multi-channel digital experiences with reliable speed and consistency to meet rising customer expectations. Your customers expect nothing less. Beautiful images, animated GIFs, and short videos should display and play flawlessly from any device or browser when and where they want. Our latest Image Manager enhancements are designed to help you and your organization get one step closer to meeting its customer experience goals, with an intuitive UI to boot.

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